Dangermuffin isn't a radioactive muffin. It also isn't a dangerous robotic muffin that will aid other rebellious pastries in taking over the world in 2012. Rather, Dangermuffin is a self-proclaimed "Jamericana" band from Folly Beach, South Carolina that is storming the nation for the first time this summer and stopping in for a string of shows in Bend, a town to which they've already taken a liking to.
"We were out in Oregon at the beginning of the summer and we did the McMenamins Great Northwest Tour. Bend was the best [stop] by far," says Dangermuffin frontman Dan Lotti.
"We got a really good vibe from [the Bend crowd]. I think it starts with the landscape, with the beautiful mountains and the high desert," Lotti says of the band's visit to McMenamin's Old St. Francis School in early June, where they played to a jam-packed house. On August 8, fans should have a bit more space to roam, as the band is playing Les Schwab Amphitheater as part of the St. Charles Free Summer Sunday Concert Series. Dangermuffin will then stick around to play a three-night residency at McMenamins from the 10th to the 12th.
For the past few months, Dangermuffin has been touring the country in a Dodge van. It's just the power trio - comprised of Lotti, guitarist Mike Sivilli and drummer Steven Sandifer - the driver and their equipment. The band members have embraced their time on the road, using the experience of driving cross-country to inspire their next album. Lotti remembers driving across Route 50 in Nevada, and being stuck by the isolation as the only car on the road.
"The energy that's around the desert - it's the same thing with the ocean. It's inevitable that those things will inspire you to create," Lotti says.
Lotti writes the lyrics for Dangermuffin's songs. Sandifer brings a jazz background that adds an eclectic element to the band's sound, while Sivilli contributes to the collective with his guitar. The band doesn't have a bass player, but Lotti says his acoustic guitar has the range to make due.
"It gives us a lot of space. We're able to go from different kinds of roots music from bluegrass to reggae and to funk and get away with doing a lot of different things and still kind of have it be our own sound," Lotti explains.
Their most recent album, Moonscapes, was inspired by Lotti's love of the ocean, a presence that is both threatening and beautiful in his South Carolina hometown.
"You're staring at [the ocean] from your deck in a house that was built in the 1970s and survived Hurricane Hugo," says Lotti. "It probably wouldn't survive another one but the ocean is right there and it just gets into your blood."
Lotti expects the upcoming album to be grittier than their previous releases, but they will still continue to pay homage to the Americana genre that has been their mainstay thus far.
"We're just getting used to the freedom of larger stages and that brings about a higher onstage energy. There's a little more straight-up rock and roll coming out of what we're writing now," Lotti says.
Dangermuffin was recently nominated for a slot on Jam Cruise - a jam-band-lover's wet dream of a music festival held on a cruise ship - set to sail the Caribbean in early 2011. It's an honor bestowed upon the most notable jam bands, a club that Dangermuffin is fast becoming a member of. To the band, the nomination is a sign that their hard work is finally paying off. "We've made it as far as we're concerned," he says.
2:30pm Sunday, August 8. Les Schwab Amphitheater, 344 SW Shevlin-Hixon Drive. Free, all ages.
7pm Tuesday-Thursday, Mcmenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 NW Bond St. Free, all ages.